Condoms are among the most widely used forms of birth control and remain the most secure technique for preventing sexually transmitted infections. The majority of condoms are made of latex, which is a substance obtained from rubber trees. But since many people have a latex allergy, using ordinary latex condoms can be extremely painful and occasionally even harmful for them.
If you are looking for alternatives to latex condoms, you have landed on the right page. Read on to discover various types of condoms and the potential advantages/drawbacks of the same.
How to know if you are allergic to latex condoms?
A full-blown allergic response can happen if a penis-owner with a latex allergy uses a latex condom during sex. Vagina-owners allergic to latex can also develop symptoms. Since the mucus membranes of the vagina make it easier for latex proteins to enter the body, they might experience irritation and swelling in and around the vagina.
Soon after using a latex product, you will realise whether you are allergic to latex or not. Within a few minutes of exposure, symptoms like itchiness (see more below) and rashes start to appear. You can experience the symptoms the first time, not just due to using a condom but also after inflating a balloon or getting treated by a medical professional who wore gloves.
Symptoms of latex allergy
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is strongly advised to stop using latex condoms and switch to an alternative:
- Redness of the skin
Individuals allergic to latex can also experience respiratory issues like:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Frequent coughs
- Runny nose
How long does an allergic reaction to latex condoms last?
For most people, latex allergy symptoms appear pretty fast and are only minor. It's difficult to anticipate how long an allergic reaction will last as it varies from person to person. Symptoms can subside within a few hours, persist for a few days, or (rarely) last even longer. Avoiding further exposure to latex is crucial for treating the reaction.
Alternatives to latex condoms
Are all condoms made from latex? The answer is NO!
You can use a condom even if you or your partner is allergic to latex. However, before purchasing condoms, look for the ingredients listed on the box. If it contains latex, skip that option. To be on the safer side, you can opt for brands that specifically make latex-free condoms, such as SKYN.
Other than that, you can check out these alternatives and see what works for you.
Polyurethane condoms are made of thin plastic instead of rubber. Much like latex condoms, these also offer protection against pregnancy and STDs. However, these condoms are slightly expensive and run the risk of easily breaking or slipping off during sex.
These condoms, also made using polyurethane, are meant for people with vaginas. Although less efficient than latex condoms, which are 98% effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies, these are equally effective at preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
These are made from sheep intestines and provide resistance against only unintended pregnancy, not STIs. Therefore, it is advisable only to utilise lambskin condoms when both partners are sure of not having an STD.
However, if you have multiple sexual partners, experts advise against using animal skin condoms. Since these condoms are porous, STIs can spread through the perforations.
Unlike latex condoms, polyisoprene condoms are composed of synthetic rubber. These condoms offer protection against STIs and pregnancy. Additionally, these are stretchier than latex condoms.
Benefits of non-latex condoms
Non-latex condoms don’t have the pungent rubber smell (that most unflavoured latex condoms come with), which is a win-win for people who are sensitive to the smell (or just dislike it). Plus, non-latex condoms also offer excellent strength, smoothness, and thinness. These alternatives are quicker to adjust to your body temperature and give you a natural, skin-like feeling.
If you have more questions or need help with picking a birth control option, book a judgement-free consultation with our doctors today!